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7 ILSA J. Int'l & Comp. L. 275 (2000-2001)
Civil Society at the WTO: The Illusion of Inclusion?

handle is hein.journals/ilsaic7 and id is 283 raw text is: CIVIL SOCIETY AT THE WTO: THE ILLUSION OF
Jeffrey L Dunoff
In this brief essay, I want to link our panel's focus on civil society-and
related issues of inclusion and participation-with the broader conference theme
of international law and organizations as we enter the 21st century. In short,
what can a focus on inclusion and participation tell us about the World Trade
Organization (WTO) as it enters the new millennium?
I believe that a focus on inclusion and participation suggests a three-part
thesis about the WTO. First, the WTO is in a time of fundamental transition.
Second, the strategies used to date to address this transition have been, at best,
ineffectual, and at worst, counterproductive. Third, the transition issues reveal
the limits of current WTO practices and strategies. Successful approaches to
transition issues will require not only new political strategies, but also new
understandings of the trade regime.
I can do no more than outline this thesis here. To do so, I will explore a
few simple sounding questions: who, what, and where. Who is a
question about constituents: who has a meaningful voice, and who is excluded
from the trade system? What is a question about competence: what subject
areas fall within the trade system? Where is a question about coherence:
where does WTO law and doctrine fit within the larger international law
Each of these questions implicates civil society, and issues of inclusion and
.participation. The who question focuses directly on Non-Governmental
Organization (NGO) participation at the WTO. The what and where
questions focus on issues that NGOs have pressed upon the WTO. As we will
see, in each area, there are significant pressures for the WTO to be less closed
or isolated, and more inclusive, open, or integrated. In each area there are
moves towards these goals, but upon examination, it is not clear whether
progress is real or illusory.
*    Professor of Law and Director, Transnational Law Program, Temple University School of Law.
This paper is a slightly revised version of a presentation at the International Law Association's International
Law Weekend in October 2000. An expanded treatment of the ideas presented here can be found in Jeffrey
L Dunoff, The WTO in Transition: Of Constituents, Competence and Coherence, 33 GEO.WASH. INT'L L
REv. (forthcoming 2001). I am grateful to Padideh Ala'i for the opportunity to participate in this conference,
and to Jane Baron for helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.

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